A very big part of what happens at Pajaro Valley Shelter Services to help homeless families become stable again is the case management services. Families are not only linked up to many community resources, but required to participate in workshops, classes and programs that begin the hard work of changing behaviors that have been barriers to stability. Mandatory participation in courses offered by Cara y Corazón is one of these.
The Watsonville Cara y Corazón affiliate regularly offers an 8-12 week support program which the Shelter’s resident families are required to participate in. It is based on the work of Jerry Tello, an internationally recognized authority in family strengthening, therapeutic healing, cross cultural issues and motivational speaking.
The philosophy of Cara y Corazón is a culturally-based family strengthening approach that assists parents and other members of the extended family to raise and educate their children from a positive bicultural base. Many bicultural families in our community face the challenges of bridging the two cultures when parents have grown up in an Hispanic culture and the children are growing up in an American culture.
Cara y Corazón offers a course in Spanish and one in English. In their sessions, participants speak about their upbringing, the hard parts and the good parts. They re-engage with the good things that happened in their lives, their values, family traditions and holiday rituals that were important. Many of the PVSS residents have reported that this has been a great experience, being able to talk about things they never could before. They find new ways to develop quality time with their children and find forgiveness for times in their lives which were hurtful. After taking this course many PVSS residents, both men and women, have commented about being able to better discuss their emotions, to talk about deep woundings in their lives and about beginning the healing process. They have expressed the ability to feel the warmth of family where they couldn’t before. All these steps are part of the path to personal and family stability for residents in the Pajao Valley Shelter Services programs.